Continued Abuses in Sudan

In the midst of what feels like an exceptionally tumultuous time in the world and in the Middle East and North Africa particularly, it is easy to let certain issues fall by the wayside. With international intervention in Libya, continued clashes in Egypt, and the escalation of conflict in Bahrain, the people of Sudan cannot afford for the international community to forget about them.

In the past week, clashes between the South Sudan army and rebels have killed at least 70 people. Continued fighting over the disputed oil-producing region of Abyei threatens to derail peace talks between the north and the south.

The tense political climate has led Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party to take action to crush opposition. It has cracked down on opposition party members, students, and activists through violence and illegal detentions. This week the government threatened to silence internet-based dissent by using “cyber jihadists”.

Fighting in the Darfur region, where villages continue to be burnt down, has forced an estimated 66,000 people—mainly women, children, and the elderly—to seek safety in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps since January of this year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The mass movement of IDPs to camps has placed “considerable strain” on resources and services, said Georg Charpentier, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, as arriving IDPs have led to increased demand for protection, food, and sanitation facilities.

Threats to the safety and wellbeing of the people of Sudan remain, and mounting political tension and violence related to the north-south split brings an increased risk of further human rights abuses in the upcoming months. We must keep up international pressure to continue to monitor and protect human rights in Sudan.

Take action to ensure accountability for crimes committed in Darfur

You can also take action now against the illegal detention of political dissenters and human rights advocates

Sara Harden, Africa Program, contributed to this blog post

Dude, Where's My House?

5 years ago today, the Zimbabwean government set out on a project dubbed “Operation Murambatsvina” (Restore Order). More than 700,000 people were left without a home or livelihood, or both, after the government of Zimbabwe began to destroy informal settlements all across the country. These forced evictions only exacerbated a situation already dire due to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.

Today, hundreds of thousands of people still struggle to survive in plastic shacks since their eviction from these settlements, while the government does little, if anything, to help them. Efforts to provide some shelters to victims have been complete failures and seem to have been abandoned completely.

It is a scandal that five years on, victims are left o survive in plastic shacks without basic essential services. The needs of these victims are at risk of being forgotten because their voices are consistently ignored – Cousin Zilala, Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe

4 years ago, we also began using new technologies to document human rights abuses when we released satellite images of the destruction of Porta Farm, a settlement on the outskirts of Harare which the government destroyed in 2005. This was one of the first times Amnesty used satellite images to provide irrefutable evidence of the destruction of an entire community and was used in litigation for redress efforts.

Satellite images taken of Porta Farm community in Zimbabwe. Copyright DigitalGlobe 2010. CLICK ON IMAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Satellite images taken of Porta Farm community in Zimbabwe. Copyright DigitalGlobe 2010. CLICK ON IMAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Randall Kindle, Africa Program, contributed to this blog post